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How To Create A Workforce That Attracts All Abilities

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How To Create A Workforce That Attracts All Abilities


As we all strive to create a more inclusive workforce, the topic of how, exactly, to hire and retain the best employees of all abilities is on everyone’s mind. Fortunately, there are many ways that business owners can broaden their hiring practices and culture strategies and attract and keep the best talent. Read on for a few tips from InfoJuices.


Start with Your Online Presence


For most people, their job search will begin online. If potential employees with disabilities can’t navigate your site, they are likely not going to be encouraged to apply for a job at your company since they have no indication of your ability to accommodate them. Talk with your IT and marketing departments to find out what you can do about creating an accessible and inclusive design.


This might begin by simply updating your stock photos to show people with different abilities and adding audio and video content to appeal to a wider range of site visitors. Another very simple upgrade you can make is to restructure your written content so that there is greater contrast and smaller paragraphs. Business marketing and consulting company Impact also suggests eliminating flashing animations, using lists when possible, and ensuring that your website supports keyboard navigation.


Engage Employees at All Levels


Employees must feel engaged and valued. When they don’t feel this way, you will likely see your turnover ratios jump. Furthermore, the employees that do stay may be less efficient and not as satisfied in their careers. You can promote a culture of engagement by giving your employees the confidence to voice their opinions and take ownership over their roles. Perhaps most importantly, however, you must maintain a culture of communication.


Provide Educational Benefits


You know that you have to provide top-tier benefits to your employees. But, you also have to pick and choose these wisely. One of the most sought-after perks of a job is getting help paying for school. According to tax firm Wolters Kluwer, there are many benefits of paying for school for your employees. For them, they get tax-free treatment of qualifying educational reimbursements. For you, you’ll also receive a write-off as a business expense while having an educated workforce already on your staff.


If you’re planning to offer education compensation, consider pointing your employees toward online learning. Your staff can quickly and easily find a program in their preferred field, take classes, and earn their degree online without ever having to miss a day at work or a family dinner. Degree-holding employees can go back to earn a master’s degree with little to no interruption to their daily lives.


Allocate Additional Funds to Create an Accommodating Environment


You’re likely already required by the ADA to have an assessable building. But, you can take this a step further by creating a more accommodating environment for people with ability differences. One good example here is how Hazelwood School in Glasgow has created a tactile walkway for blind and deaf students.


You may also consider adding additional elevators for wheelchair-bound employees so that they can more easily access their workspaces. Other ideas include creating more open space for mobility-impaired workers to navigate and enhancing the lighting throughout your office, which will be a benefit to workers with vision loss.


Plan a Hiring Event


No matter how excited you are at the prospect of hiring people of all abilities, you can’t just have the idea. You must implement a strategy to bring employees into your building. Plan a recruitment event, and make sure to get the word out. Start by making it known that candidates can “come as they are” with no resume in hand. This gives them an opportunity to simply sit down and speak with hiring managers and showcase their personality and expertise in person. You also make sure that you choose the right location. Ideally, this will be an inclusive area, such as your own building or a local restaurant/brewery with easy access.


Before you send out invitations or post on social media, you’ll need to strategize. Larger businesses should have their management team on hand while smaller companies may fare better simply taking applications and doing a quick meet and greet style interview. If you’re not sure how to reach out to the disability community, the Small Business Administration notes that one of the greatest ways to find candidates with disabilities is to get into contact with your local Workforce Development Board.


Create Awareness of Your Hiring Practices


Finally, when you want to attract a wide breadth of employees, you must make your hiring tactics known. If you’re targeting veterans, for example, reach out to the places they are likely to be. This might mean posting as a local VFW or contacting veteran organizations in your area. Similarly, if you’re interested in hiring mobility-impaired workers for remote positions, you might join local disability groups or advocacy organizations.


You will also need to let your current employees know that your goal is to create a more inclusive culture. You never know who knows someone that might be a perfect fit that hasn’t applied because of a perceived issue with their abilities.


There are many great reasons to have a diverse staff. As it relates to people with disabilities, you can find reliable employees that are less likely to quit or be injured in an on-site accident. Importantly, you may also qualify for tax incentives by creating an inclusive culture.


Ultimately, people with disabilities are just as capable as everyone else. With the advent of adaptive techniques and devices, people with disabilities can compete in the traditional job market and prove that they are equally as effective. They just need to have an opportunity to show what they can do. As a business owner, you can give them this chance, and you will find that you may wind up with a better workforce than you could have imagined.


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